My Ten Year Promise.

I stumbled across a piece of writing I did a few years ago. I decided to blow the dust off and share it. It’s blunt and honest and just as relevant today as it was when I first wrote it.

Without farther ado…

“It gets better after high school.”

When I was seventeen, I wanted to kill myself.

It was the first time in my life that I recall having cynical depression. I was self-harming on a daily basis. My head was always full of thoughts of being unwanted and feeling hopeless. I couldn’t see any other option. To me, there was no other solution then to end my life.

But I was only seventeen, and the adults in my life told me, “It gets better after high school.” I didn’t want to miss out on a time when it would get better.

So I promised myself ten more years. If I still wanted to die by the time I was twenty-seven, then I would.

The next few years rolled on. After graduation, I was still unhappy. I thought maybe I just hated my hometown, so I moved away to college. I made a lot of friends, found a career path I was passionate about but, I still found myself slipping back into my depression. I stopped hurting myself after I had finished high school, but that never put an end to the depression from becoming my comfort zone.

I graduated from college doing something I loved— I was full of hope.

It wasn’t too long after I moved back home that I had convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough to get the career I wanted. The next few years were spent at a dead end job, feeling like I had surrounded myself with selfish people and fake smiles, in a town that I hated. I wanted to kill myself.

I drank every day, so I didn’t have to feel how bad it hurt. I tried to validate myself by chasing after relationships with men who didn’t care about me. I pushed everyone away as hard as I could until I truly was as alone as I felt.
And then it happened— my twenty-seventh birthday. When I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, my wish was to finally sum up the courage to honour the promise I made 10 years before.

And that scared the shit out of me.
If suicide was the only answer, I needed to know for sure and exhaust all other options before choosing it. My doctor was reluctant to give me a referral to a psychiatrist. He told me it would take months to come through and I lost hope all over again.

Now I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, but I do believe that there’s something bigger than us that has the master plan. The office I was referred to called me a few days later, they had an opening due to a cancellation. Someone upstairs was watching out for me when that happened. Without it I know I would not have been able to white-knuckle my way through much longer.

Over the next few months, I started finally seeing those bad things in my life for what they were and cut them out. Bad friends, bad relationships, and bad habits. I tore my life down to bare bones and got back to the basics. I reconnected with my family and reconnected with myself.

It occurs to me now that I have never actually wanted to die. I just wanted to kill the thing inside of me that was causing all my pain. One of my favourite poets once said: “killing myself is like a glowing exit sign to a show that’s never been quite bad enough to make me want to leave.” My life was never quite bad enough to want to leave it, and everyone I know behind.

Today I am twenty-eight years old. I’ve never felt more alive.

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